Getting Rid of Paper Towels

Getting Rid of Paper TowelsMost of us have heard the slogan “Reduce Reuse Recycle”. What you may not know, however is that these three steps actually comprise the official Waste Hierarchy, Proposed by The European Union’s Waste Framework Directive in 1975. The 3R’s of waste management then became a popular slogan for a variety of recycling and environmental conservation programs that continue on today.

I give you this little nugget of knowledge today to demonstrate that while this phrase may have become cliché in our society it actually stems from the three very true and very important pillars of waste management that have the power to influence great change in our society.

So, outside of throwing our plastic water bottles in the green bin, how can we practice these 3R’s in our everyday life? One way is try to find products in your every day life that can be switched from disposable to reusable. I have written a few posts on this topic before from using a Diva Cup over tampons, to making a reusable Swiffer Mop Cloth and I am back today to talk about paper towels.

Paper towels are actually one of the first things that my husband and I cut out when “going green”. Everything that we used paper towels for was easily replaced by a reusable counterpart.

Here are some of the swaps we made:

Get Rid of Paper Towels






Now, some of you may be looking at this and thinking… “all I hear from this is Laundry Laundry Laundry.” Well, It is actually much more convenient than you might think. For many people, myself included, the laundry area of a house or apartment is located close to, or in, the kitchen. If this is your situation all you have to do is throw the rags into the washing machine as you finish with them and not give them a second thought. Simply do you laundry as you normally would and when its all done you have a stack of clean rags. If your washing machine is located somewhere else in your house I recommend getting one or two wet bags. All you do with this is put your dirty rags in your wet bag and then take the entire thing and put it in the washing machine, bag and all. 

So what are some of the alternatives for paper towels?

Paper Towel Alternatives: 

– Cloth Napkins: Not only are cloth napkins better for the environment, they are better for your wallet and your decor. I’ve been using the same set of cloth napkins for two years and they still look as good as new. If you’re worried about germs, just make sure that the same people use the same napkin over the course of a couple of days or a week and then wash them and start over. Even if you buy sets to match different seasons, holidays, dishes or moods you will still save a ton of money and your table will always look stylish and put together. (To browse some cute cloth napkin options click here)

Un-Paper Towels: I’ve used this term a couple of times now so some of you may be curious about this product. Un-paper towels are a great multipurpose substitute for paper towels. They are essentially a collection of double layered cloths that snap together into a roll that easily fits on most paper towel holders. This is a great way to always have a rag handy and they come in so many different patterns and styles, it’s a great addition to your kitchen decor. (To browse some un-paper towel options check out Etsy or find a tutorial on how to make your own)

Rags: These could really be anything from wash cloths to old clothes, to reused burp clothes or pre fold diapers. Anything that is clean and work will be just fine.

– Cloth Sponges:  I love my reusable cloth microfiber sponges. I use them to wash dishes and wipe down counters, then when they get gross I throw them in the washing machine and they come out clean and ready to go again. (Check them out here)

Cutting out your use of paper towels is a great step towards reducing reusing and recycling as a means of helping our environment as well as your wallet! Have you cut out paper towels? What are some disposable things you have traded out for reusable alternatives?



Jesse St. Jean

Jesse St. Jean

I am many things: a wife, a daughter, a sister, a nutritional therapist, a dog-mom… and I’m an autoimmune warrior.

Nutritional therapist Jesse

Hi, I'm Jesse

I empower women autoimmune warriors to reclaim their health by teaching each woman how to make the right food choices to heal her body while confidently owning her journey so she can live a vibrant life with chronic illness.


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